Reflection on Matthew Herbert’s “Herbert Complete”


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In an interview conducted by Noisey back in 20115, U.K. Electronic producer Matthew Herbert finally exposed the mechanisms behind his forward-bending music. He articulated in the video about his motive to travel to various regions and environments and record the sounds of everyday life. In the video, it showed footage of him lowering his microphone in a farmhouse filled with pigs, trying to record the snorts and yelps of the shuttled pigs.

Video uploaded by Noisey (YouTube)

Many listeners would recognize Herbert’s name as the composer of the foreboding music behind major foreign drama films, mainly with director Sebastian Leilo (A Fantastic Woman and Disobedience). Matthew Herbert’s name isn’t prodigious among the herd of many other disc jockeys and producers that adhere to the movement of modern sound. Since the later of the Deep House movement throughout the 1990’s, Matthew Herbert’s name hasn’t rung the attention of Billboard charts but still manages to sell out shows as he traverses through Europe and North America.

As he manages to keep up with the times and advance to other forms of entertainment, such as score composing and concert spectacles, his earlier music still goes much unnoticed. I had discovered his name while foraging for more House music on platforms such as YouTube and Pandora. Late in the night, hypnagogic and heavy-felt, I had discovered his song titled I Hadn’t Known (I Only Heard). The nocturnal melody introducing the track that transitioned into a crimson lullaby was the perfect theme for me laying my head atop my keyboard in the dead of night.

This was the type of Deep House music I had looked for since my introduction to the genre early in college. Herbert understood that sound and this album proves so. This album is a collection of his works throughout his career as a Deep House artist, since his inception to his refined moments in the early 2000’s. These tracks are vignettes of old-school House music with added elements of Dance and Trance.

It would be nonsense to analyze each of the fifty-one tracks listed on this collection when each of them speaks for themselves. These are dance tunes that were meant to be played in city nightclubs and bars. They elude the nightly sensation among the listeners who stray away from the daily hassles of life and gather into conclaves of sensory pleasures. Herbert’s years as a club DJ and producer has been piled into this collection that all seem to fit in that description.

Two of my favorite tracks are I Hadn’t Known (I Only Heard) and Got To Sing. I Hadn’t Known sounds like a lullaby that would play strictly at night time. Got To Sing is the perfect anthem to your typical Chicago dance club that reverberates the room until the start of dawn. With this collection, Herbert doesn’t seem to much different than other modern House artists, which is the point.

Most of the tracks listed here were composed and played during the mid-1990’s, where Chicago and other urban House scenes were still reigning strong in the nightlife after the 1980’s. These tracks are bouncy, melodic, and sweet to listen to. They remind you of another place you’ve manifested in your head, even while you’re in your bedroom working on an English paper.

Herbert’s Collection is worth the listen for any listener getting into House music, or an avid fan of the genre who hasn’t stumbled upon the legend’s name yet. As Matthew Herbert is still enhancing his artistry to this day, this collection showcases the earlier works that proved his innate talent.



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